HOUSTON - It’s a student’s dream come true. The Houston Independent School District said it will be providing a laptop to thousands of its high school students starting in January 2014.
Eventually, the district said it will provide laptops to all students in grades third through 12th.
HISD’s Young Women’s College Prep Academy has been testing out the take home computer program for a year. Many of the school’s students can’t afford computers, according to the Principal Delesa Thomas.
Sixth-grader Ariel Hudgins did not have a computer at home prior to the initiative, and she now has a shiny Apple laptop.
“When I found out I was really excited,” Hudgins said.
Hudgins and all her classmates use their computers as part of their classroom lessons, which they also get to take home.
Stacks of old textbooks are gathering dust on shelves near the students glaring at glowing screens.
Lenny Schad, the district’s chief technology officer, said the program will revolutionize teaching methods. He said expects students to participate in lessons like never before.
Teacher Lauren Nguyen said her students are “… crazy for these laptops.”
Some other districts in the Houston area have started similar programs.
Fort Bend ISD has been testing iPads instead of textbooks in some classrooms. Clear Creek ISD hopes a bond vote next month will allow the district to also give computers to their students.
Back at the Young Women’s Prep Academy, Thomas said the computers keep students busy.
Thomas adds, “…we don’t have the discipline issues like many schools have.” She credits the appeal of the computers.
Samantha Leyva says her computer has helped her grades.
The 12-year-old said, “They’ve (grades) gone higher because I have more access to resources.”
It’s still too early to tell what kind of impact the take home computer program will have on grades.